It's important to us to produce projects which involve other artists - most of our work does, to be fair. Sometime though it's important to give others, in particular those artists classed as 'emerging', opportunities they may not otherwise have. This might mean involving them in a project, or commissioning something from them. Here's some projects which we've devised partly in order to give time, space and/or showcasing opportunities to other artists. These projects are also often about strengthening or developing the local arts scene or infrastructure in a place (often, though not always, Coventry).
» FarGo Space Programme
The SPACE PROGRAMME was curated by Talking Birds. Each month a different artist took over the empty industrial unit to make/do/perform their work. The only condition was that they open the space up to the public at the end of the month.
"The residency programme at FarGo gave us an opportunity to be totally immersed in our exploration into our theme. Unlike our past projects, we were completely isolated from the public until the closing event. The experience was challenging at times as we found that those interactions with the public helped to give us inspiration and motivation. The total isolation, however, pushed us further in challenging our ideas and what we truly wanted to explore. We were able to achieve and undertake a form of practical philosophy. It helped that we had a van to stay in inside to fully experience and be inspired by the space. FarGo Art Space is an excellent space filled with potential. I am happy that we were able to feel the potential and express it in our own way." [Chie Hosaka & Anna Mawby were resident in October 2011]
» The Virtual Fringe
The Virtual Fringe was a festival of non-existent events, programmed into unused, underused or unfulfilled buildings and spaces in Coventry. It was conceived as a way of entering into the debate about what makes a vibrant city - and what artists can do to be involved in the discussion and to help that to happen. So in a way it was a consultation project, but it was also very much about Talking Birds curating the artists and pairing them up with real spaces to produce their virtual works.
You are the audience for the Virtual Fringe: We ask you to look through this online brochure and imagine your presence at this festival. We ask you to imagine the buzz on the street and to enjoy looking at your city with new eyes. We ask you to imagine your role in realising such a festival, given that Something, like Nothing, can happen anywhere.
"It is a very creative and practical exercise in showing just how vibrant the city could be...How artists can influence the arts policy of their local council is a difficult question to resolve: Talking Birds' independent but engaging approach could be something of a model." [a-n magazine]"
» Other Coventry <> Other Volgograd
[From exhibition introductory text] "This exhibition twins the work of contemporary artists working in Volgograd, Russia with artists working in Coventry, UK...and sets out to show the affinities we saw between the work of artists in both cities, by displaying their work side by side and asking the artists involved to reflect upon what impact their city has upon their work. The title of the exhibition reflects the way in which artists can make us look at the place where we live and work in a new light."
The exhibition came about as a result of the connections Talking Birds made with artists in Volgograd as part of our Twin 60 project. We set up an artists exchange, and collected the Russian parts of the exhibition whilst in Volgograd, effectively pairing the work as we saw it with the work of artists known to us in Coventry. After its run in Coventry, the exhibition was shipped to Volgograd and re-exhibited there.